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Prisons in North Carolina: Are They a Viable Strategy for Rural Communities?

IJED, Vol. 4 No. 1, (2002)

A prison construction boom is currently underway nationwide. Non-urban areas are forming the impetus behind this movement. As rural areas become the sites of these new prisons, the local economies are experiencing associated growth through the provision of stable employment in often economically depressed locales. This is the case in North Carolina. North Carolina has effectively used its increased capacity needs for prisons to promote economic development in rural counties. Most of the academic and policy studies of economic development success to date focus solely on community level variables and their effectiveness. This article looks at the importance of state level siting procedures on host communities’ experiences with prisons. The North Carolina Department of Corrections siting policies and procedures have contributed greatly to the success of this construction program. This paper will discuss factors affecting community receptivity to prisons with a focus on the effect that the state’s, in this case North Carolina’s siting procedures has on the community’s perception.

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